I believe it was sometime last May 2012 when I received an e-mail stating that there was a face-painter opening for a cruise departing from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean. About the same time the shit was hitting the fan with Jay Scott Berry and I decided I needed something happy to look forward to. I tried to book this trip the year prior but somebody else beat me out. The way this company works you and a guest for $40.00 a night plus face painting sessions get to take the cruise. Not a bad deal if you are bringing someone and like cruises. I had never been on a cruise so I had no idea if I would like it or not. But my friend Lisa, may god rest her soul did about 4 of these cruises and she loved them. And New Orleans was on my bucket list-so why not I thought.
I tracked the weather in New Orleans and it was on average about 10 degrees colder than where I live so totally doable. I booked myself on a flight that arrived one day before the cruise departed as I wanted a buffer day in case my luggage got lost and the returning flight I booked for New Years Day so I could spend 3 days and New Years Eve in New Orleans.
My next door neighbors teenage daughter was going to take care of my two kitties and Missy would be at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, where she is spoiled and does things she does not do at home.
I of course travel with pink luggage. Seriously did anyone think it would be a different color. This trip I decided to use the large suitcase, which I have never used ( and know I know why I don’t) before because I had to pack winter clothes for New Orleans and summer clothes, in addition to formal wear for the cruise.
Yes, you get a big list of do’s and don’ts when you take one of these cruises as you are considered a representative of the company. They stress how you must always look upscale and never wear shorts on the cruise. Of course that meant I needed matching shoes and of course I needed my face painting supplies as well. I decided I would take my face paints in my carry on because God forbid something should happen and where would I be without my face paints. Since this was my first time I wanted to make a good impression. I packed my brushes, glitter, stick on jewels, sponges, glitter gel you name it-everything I needed to make little kids fantasy face dreams come true.
Of course December thankfully is a busy month for my business and what with school and finals it did not give me a lot of time to pre-pack as I like to do before a trip. I even wanted to clean my home a bit as my next door neighbor is one of those clean freaks and I did not want her daughter to go back home and say what a mess I left the place in.
I departed on Dec 21 coming back home on Jan 1 2013. Yes, I was forgoing Christmas with the family. a conscius choice as I could not deal with yet another phony Christmas–maybe I’ll do a post about that someday.
So I have my large suitcase, my small carry on size one, a purse, and my guitar. Yes, I brought the guitar assuming I would have time to practice my guitar. And I figured the ship must have a piano somewhere on the ship that I could practice on while I was away.
I put my luggage on the bathroom scale and according to it the large suitcase only weighed about 37 lbs–awesome I thought as the weight limit for the airlines was 50 lbs.
I was departing FRiday at 1 am so I arrived with luggage and Missy sometime on Thursday afternoon to my moms’. But we still had to get the costumes for the weekend all set before I left. To say that it was a hectic day is an understatement. My mom lifted my large suitcase to put into the van. Yes, I know my mother is 71 however she is under the impression that she is the only one that knows how to put a suitcase into the car as she travels back and forth to Puerto Rico at least 4 times a year. The first thing she says is that the suitcase weighs too much. I tell it doesn’t I weighed it on the scale at home.
Well it was time to head to the airport. I said my good-byes to Missy and gave her lots of kisses. That is the one thing about traveling that I don’t like, having to leave Missy behind. And once the puppies arrive I guess I won’t be going anywhere for a while.
We get to the airport to check in. As luck would have there wasn’t a line and hardly anyone at the airport. They check in the guitar and then we put the large suitcase on the airline scale thingy. I am 20 lbs over weight–that will be an extra $100.00–what. And of course there is my mother saying, ” I told you so!” Really this was not the moment to be smug. It is suggested that I remove items and the woman at the counter says she has to check on something and will be back.
Well, like I said earlier it was quite the blessing that the airport was not busy because there and then I am now opening the large suitcase to see what weighs the most that I can take out. Now normally I have my backpack that I use as my carry on because it can hold a lot of items including my laptop and I have a purse. Yeah no back pack this time. I sent my mother and her husband back to the car because I thought I saw a bag that I could use.
Out comes the music binder–hand that to my mom. I only keep a few pages of practice music. The roll up keyboard for the lap top comes out. Three pairs of 4 inch heels come out of the suitcase I will carry those on. The power strip comes out-that goes to my mom. Oh yes, the extra sweater I put on, the suit coat from my new just had to have tuxedo got put on, along with the coat I was already wearing. The electric throw blanket–that I had to have because I can’t stand to get into a cold bed even in the summer I decided to carry that on and hope TSA does not stop me ( the wires in the blanket). Seriously it looked a scene from a bad comedy.
I am trying to ignore my mother as she goes on and on about how we should have weighed the luggage and how much she knows about traveling and that I don’t’ need three pairs of 4 inch heels or so much clothes for just a ten day trip blah blah blah. My focus was did I get rid of the excess 20 lbs. The carry on with the face paints now had to be checked in the russian roulette game of re-do the packing on the floor of Los Angeles International Airport.
Mission accomplished but now there was another woman at the counter and a line was beginning to form. She spoke Spanish my mother spoke spanish and said something to her in Spanish about how she tried to tell me about weight. Oh just for information’s sake I am not a first time traveler. I have been to Jamaica 4 times, 3 times by my self, I have been to Europe as well two times by myself and of course there was the glorious life changing trip to Malaysia. However my mother is under the impression that she is a more seasoned traveler than I am. But I have to admit her talking to the woman in Spanish got my luggage clearance. The problem wound up being that the women who had walked away had already charged me the $100.00 fee-possibley it was for the guitar?!! Seriously, if I had been told the guitar was going to cost $100.00 that too would have been going back home with mom.
Finally got all checked in made it through security and finally at the gate. Of course I had to call my mother and let her know I made it safely to the gate. You just never know when a hijacker might just randomly take a hostage at the airport.
And that is how I started the Christmas Holiday whose purpose was to help me clear my head of the magician and get on with life….to be continued……